Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)4:10 PM
For the First Time You Will See the Activity
This review may contain Spoilers
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the sixth and supposedly final film in the successful horror franchise. The film is the directorial debut from Gregory Plotkin and stars Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw (Clemency, Nashville), Ivy George, Dan Gill (The Wedding Ringer, Drunk Wedding) and Olivia Taylor Dudley (Chernobyl Diaries, Transcendence). "Using a special camera that can see spirits, a family must protect their daughter from an evil entity with a sinister plan". Audiences and critics alike are becoming tired with this franchise with every entry - can the 6th change this?
This is actually the first Paranormal Activity movie I have seen - the first few came out when I wouldn't go anywhere near horror films and I heard that they were so scary so I couldn't bring myself to watch them. I did start watching The Marked Ones sometime last year and turned it off because I found it quite boring. The Ghost Dimension is Sinister meets Poltergeist which gets the Paranormal Activity treatment. You know what, for a film that has around 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, I actually thought this movie was not that bad.
I think the main issue with this movie from other critics is that it is literally just the same as the other 5 movies - however, as a newbie to the franchise, all of the tricks and effects were new to me so I thought it worked quite well. I thought the film did become quite repetitive and predictable as it went on but that doesn't stop it from doing its job - scaring audiences this Halloween. If you have never seen a Paranormal Activity, I don't think you need to have seen the previous entries to understand what is actually happening - there are references and connections I didn't catch on to but otherwise, the story works.
The story is far from being original - it is literally Sinister meets Poltergeist. It is like Sinister with the fact that a mysterious figure - very similar to the one in Sinister - is brainwashing children to do bad things. I think it is also very similar to Poltergeist as a young girl is communicating with 'the other side' and enters that side through a weird passage. Then both of those films get the Paranormal Activity treatment with the found footage element. I did like the special camera that could show the 'ghost dimension' - I thought this was quite interesting. What I liked about the plot of this film is that characters aren't dying every 10 minutes - I actually thought for one point that it would be a deathless movie. However, the final 5-10 minutes or so kind of destroyed that thought as every character you could possibly route for is killed off. The ending actually did seem kind of rushed - this was a good length for a horror film but it was like 'uh oh, to keep our audiences attention we need to wrap it up now - what shall we do? Kill everyone off!'.
So was The Ghost Dimension scary? At some parts yes. At first, I thought, how can you be scared of a black bubble but when it started to resemble a Groot like figure, it actually became pretty creepy. The scares did become predictable - there was kind of a pattern - night time, look through the special camera, tense music, tense music becomes quieter, camera cuts to different points of view, no music, BAM - the jump scare. Even though you know the scare is coming, I still jumped at each one. I would probably say that The Ghost Dimension joins the 'dumb but fun' releases of 2015 so far - it is silly but it is an enjoyable watch.
Acting in these types of horror films is usually quite bad - just look at Ouija, Poltergeist, The Boy Next Door. However, I thought the performances were pretty solid in this film which is even more surprising when most of these are unknowns. The best performances definitely came from the lead couple - Chris J. Murray and Brit Shaw. I was incredibly impressed with Ivy George who I thought did a fantastic job as the creepy child - for such a young age, it is hard to believe she could perform like this.
I quickly want to mention the credits - throughout them, there was subtle tense bang sounds and it made you think a jump scare could happen at any time throughout the credits. This is the first time I have been to the cinema and the whole audience stayed in their seats for at least 3 minutes wondering if the film was over or not.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is a pretty solid horror film - like most modern horror films, it lacks originality and definitely isn't groundbreaking. The film has a formulaic chain of predictable but effective scares and has solid performances. The found footage element is a little annoying and it makes you think 'how different would this movie be if it was filmed normally'. I'd actually not like this to be the last Paranormal Activity film as I'm just getting into it!
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